Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thai report: Pilot error caused Phuket plane crash

BANGKOK (AP) - Pilot error and fatigue were the primary causes of a 2007 plane crash in the southern Thai resort island of Phuket that killed 90 people, Thai aviation authorities announced Monday.
The report by the Civil Aviation Department, released on its Web site, listed six factors it said contributed to the crash at Phuket airport of the One-Two-GO airways plane, which was carrying 130 passengers and crew members.
They included failure to follow standard operating procedure for a go-around after an aborted landing; failure to properly operate cockpit equipment; lack of coordination between pilot and co-pilot; pilot fatigue; sudden change in weather conditions; and inadequate reactions by pilot and co-pilot.
The pilot and the co-pilot both died in the Sept. 16, 2007, crash landing in driving wind and rain of the twin-engine MD-82 jet.
Officials of the airline, a subsidiary of Orient Thai Airlines, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Even though One-Two-GO flies only Thai domestic routes, the European Commission in April this year added it to a blacklist of airlines banned from flying to the European Union for safety reasons.
In July last year, Thailand's Civil Aviation Department suspended flights of the airline's eight MD-82 planes for 30 days, citing failure to meet safety standards.
Monday's report urged that One-Two-GO intensify flight and emergency training for its pilots, adjust schedules so pilots and stewardess get adequate rest, upgrade safety management and encourage personnel to report irregularities.
It said as well that Airports of Thailand _ a semi-state-owned company that operates most of the country's airports including the one on Phuket _ should expand and upgrade the runway at the airport, or improve landing systems that guide aircraft in poor visibility.
It also said the airport's layout should be altered to allow quicker access by fire and rescue teams.
The dead in the 2007 crash came from at least 10 countries, including the United States, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Sweden and Thailand.

It was Thailand's deadliest aviation accident since Dec. 11, 1998, when 101 people were killed when a Thai Airways plane crashed while trying to land in heavy rain at Surat Thani, 330 miles (530 kilometers) south of Bangkok. Forty-five people survived.
On the Net
Thai Department of Civil Aviation: 
www.aviation.go.th 

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